When he grows up. Plus a laugh. Plus a song.

It’s hard to not have it taken the wrong way by adult autistics, when you openly state as a parent that you fighting the autistic traits of your son. It will no doubt often come across as if you are declaring autistic adulthood as something to be avoided at all costs (as if such a thing was even possible in the first place might I add). But that is not my aim; or even might I venture, the aim of other parents trying to lessen the challenging symptoms of autism in their children. We are just doing everything we can – as parents, regardless of the autism per se – to help our children gain the skills they need to one day function as independent happy adults for the sad foreseeable day that we’re no longer around to care for them.

We are just fulfilling our role as nurturer, educator, and loving parent. We’re no more attempting to “wipe out their autistic identity” than a parent who makes their child do maths homework is trying to wipe out their love of alternative activities that they would much rather be doing (such as art, or bike riding). (And now I’ve probably gone and offended a bunch more people by over-simplifying with my comparison. Forgive me that for now.) Every parent is tasked with the job of helping their child rise to whatever challenges they face; we would be considered neglectful – or even abusive – if we didn’t.

There are oh so many caveats I could add about not torturing the child with the efforts to overcome autistic behaviour, not misunderstanding the function and role of stimming, not holding them back from their passionate interests, blah blah blah. Why does no one ever assume that we know all this already; the automatic assumption is that we are evil uninformed parents trying to break our children down. Why must we constantly put in caveats that make our blog posts long and tiresome as we try to unoffend and say the right thing in just the right way.

But I am tired of arguing tonight, about nuances and intentions and unintentions. I want to end the night on a smile and a bit of light-hearted fun. So I am sharing with you one of my favourite segments from some stand-up comedy by Dara O Briain, which includes a whole bit about accidentally insulting people by saying we don’t want our children to grow up to be like them. He even touches on genetic determinism, but I’m just using fancy talk now. It has a lot of other fun stuff in there too that will make you laugh by gum.

And if you’re not smiling yet, then let me just finish with the favourite song currently of both my boys, this always brings a smile to this mummy’s face anyway:


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5 Responses to When he grows up. Plus a laugh. Plus a song.

  1. KWombles says:

    Love Dara; he’s hilarious.

    As to the other bit, is it worth arguing with them? If you’ve stated your case and done so clearly, is there any value in responding to criticisms that are often strawman arguments that reflect either poor comprehension of your points or deliberate misinterpretation?

    • That’s a tricky one Kim. I always attempt to respond to them, in the hope that it’s a simple misunderstanding that can be addressed and clarified to the satisfaction of both them and myself. Even when that works out (and it does sometimes) it is often exhausting and time-consuming trying to say what I thought didn’t need saying in the first place (because I’d hope people would assume “nice mother” instead of “evil mother”), or to say again what I thought I had already made clear. Sometimes I wonder if the problem lies with me; not them: Maybe I’m just not speaking clearly enough? But I’m generally very good at making myself understood (I think!). Either way, some days (like last night) I’ve just had enough and need to take a step back before throwing myself back into the fray. I do feel better today 🙂

  2. And this is why I love you! When I started reading your blogs I was more tempted than ever to comment. Your conversational tone and the obvious intelligence that gives the reader and commenter confidence that you get it, made me comfortable enough to join the conversation. I felt you were aware our comments are just the words and thoughts that came forth in a desire to add to your words and thoughts, forming out of a slew of other words and thoughts that back up the seen comment but wouldn’t fit or would gift us with corpal tunnel if we attempted to share! And because I felt comfortable commenting I felt comfortable knowing that the only true audience I have to be clear with is… me! So now, through you, I am able to clearly get to know myself and my truths. This is so important because as I watch my teenage boys become men, it’s what I want for them. Since getting inside their heads and forcing them to know and love themselves in order to become confident men making choices that are their own is impossible, I have to do it myself for me. In that way I can example what I want for them.

    Besides, when you offend you also challenge. Some of the biggest turning points in my life have come from being offended, being defensive and then being forced to take a look at my views and judge them myself. Often, I was wrong! And if I didn’t think I was, it helped to solidify my beliefs and choose with confidence.

    Watching Sesame Street makes me want to cry! My boys will never snuggle and watch those shows with me again. And hopefully grandkids are quite a few years away! Thanks Linda for reminding me how far we’ve come!

    • And thank you for such a kind and thoughtful comment Tsara.

      Particularly loved this:

      “Besides, when you offend you also challenge. Some of the biggest turning points in my life have come from being offended, being defensive and then being forced to take a look at my views and judge them myself. Often, I was wrong! And if I didn’t think I was, it helped to solidify my beliefs and choose with confidence.”

      So very true 🙂

  3. Tsara says:

    My mom (Lynette Louise) has a radio show called A NEW SPIN ON AUTISM: ANSWERS!, and her most recent topic was Stand-UP for Social Skills. By Stand-Up she is referring to stand-up comedy. My youngest brother has a video of himself performing stand-up alone in his living room (mom mentions it in her show) on You Tube (It’s called Rye Shelton, Autistic Man, I think) and her guest TK talks about how stand-up helped him and many other comedians learn difficult to grasp social skills (he has Cerebral Palsy). The fact that you shared the stand-up video here made me want to share! So if you’re interested here’s the link!


    The show is new– this is only her second podcast– so please feel free to throw suggestions her way! She’s truly hoping for some feedback!

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